Responsible Horse Ownership
Horse ownership requires a clear understanding of the owner’s responsibilities, both legally and in terms of care, cost implications, demands on time, usage and limitations of use, legislation and ultimately disposal of the horse. Every owner has an individual responsibility in this context.
This means that every horse owner has to consider all the options available for their horse, to prevent it becoming unwanted or falling into a state of neglect or suffering. Horse owners must be mindful that there is a legal requirement in Ireland to have an identification document (passport) for each horse they possess, and that this should accompany the animal on journeys, when sold and during the disposal process.
Best practice standards of care in Ireland are available from the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council, Animal Health and Welfare Division, Agriculture House, Kildare street, Dublin 2. The relevant document is available at www.agriculture.gov.ie/fawac. Legal obligations are under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and Amendment 1965 in addition to other legislation relevant to the individual type of horse.
Horses are best kept in an active and stimulating environment, which will fulfil their needs according to their state of health and wellbeing.
Owners can seek to place their horses in alternative career programmes, which can include retraining or donation to therapeutic riding programmes. Horse owners have to be realistic, since not all horses are suitable for these programmes and opportunities for placement within them can be limited. A retraining service and advice on retraining options are available from The Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT).
Racehorse to Riding Horse Classes
Irish Thoroughbred Marketing has committed to support the retraining of racehorses through further sponsorship of various “racehorse to riding horse” classes in Ireland. In addition to sponsoring the increasingly popular ex-racehorse class at the Dublin Horse Show in the RDS, ITM will also support various regional shows throughout the country.
As a new development the winners of four of the regional shows, namely, Clonmel, Cork, Gorey and Armagh will receive an automatic entry into the “Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Racehorse to Riding Horse Class”, scheduled to take place at the RDS Horse Show in Dublin.
Julie Morris, Founder and Chairman of Racehorse to Riding Horse Ireland commented; “Recognition by ITM is very important as it shows the general public that the racing authorities are interested in horse welfare and their usefulness after racing, and by joining together we can promote the Irish thoroughbred’s versatility in showing. Supporting the concept of ex-racehorse of the year will encourage people to take another look at the ex-racehorse as being a useful general riding horse, able to hold his own with the sport horse sector in many disciplines such as dressage, show-jumping, eventing and riding club/pony club.”